Cousin Camp: Why I Send My Kids On Their Own Vacation

    We recently sent our three kids away for the next two weeks. This time is lovingly referred to as “Cousin Camp,” which my mother-in-law dreamt of for years as a time when all her grandkids could spend a week at her house. My parents requested we tack on another week so they could get some time with the kids as well. Since then, we’ve fully embraced the concept.

    When I tell people what we’ve done, especially other moms of littles, I get some strange looks. I’m sure those moms are wondering how we could leave our kids so long. They are even more surprised to learn that we do this every year.

    Maybe reading this, you are thinking to yourself, “What kind of mom sends her babies away for two weeks every year?” Me. I do it. And gladly!

    Here’s why:

    1. It is good for my kids.

    During their time away, my kids will visit with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They will run barefoot through my parents’ backyard. They will swim in the pool and play in the creek and explore in the woods. They will have craft time with my mother-in-law and make s’mores and ride bikes. They will eat too much candy and stay up too late and not nap enough. In short, they will make memories that will last a lifetime.

    1. It is good for me.

    Momma needs a break!

    This is always true, but especially this year. After countless weeks of social isolation and homeschooling and working from home and playing at home and being in each other’s space all the time, we were all more than ready for a little time apart. While my kids are gone, I plan to catch up some on work, but I also do things that I don’t always make the time for: I read, I cook what I want to eat, I take naps on the weekends, I have time to return phone calls and text messages. In short, I focus on me. And I think that is a good thing because I come out of the time feeling more recharged and ready to assume the mom duties.

    1. It is good for my marriage.

    My husband LOVES Cousin Camp. He claims not to miss the kids at all. I think that is a lie. But I think he looks forward to the extra date nights (basically every night), movie nights that don’t involve Disney, uninterrupted conversations, and probably the extra intimacy, too ????.

    As parents of young kids who don’t have family nearby to help out on a regular basis, we don’t get very much time for just the two of us. The extra space we have during these two weeks to reconnect with each other is a gift, and our marriage is much stronger because of it.

    1. It is good for my family.

    My family – my parents and in-laws, our siblings and nieces and nephews – adore my kids. And my kids adore them. This is one of the hardest parts about living away from family. Which is why one of my favorite parts of these two weeks are the texts and phone calls and videos I receive with a funny story or sweet picture of my kids laughing or playing or sharing their personalities with people who don’t get to experience them every day. The bonds of family are being forged in these weeks that help carry us through the year, when Facetime and shared photo albums are our primary forms of connection.

    What are your thoughts? Have you sent your kids off on their own vacation before? Would you consider it?

    Sarah Brichetto
    Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Sarah moved to New Orleans in 2009 after graduating from the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) and is proud to call New Orleans home. She is a CPA and the Finance Director at a local real estate development company. Sarah lives in the Freret neighborhood with her husband, Matt, and their three kids: Elizabeth, Paul and Isaac. You can often find them roaming the neighborhood streets, taking streetcar rides, or enjoying one of the many local parks. In her non-existent free time, Sarah loves to try the newest local restaurants, cook, read, and write.


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